January 9, 2024

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Welcome to Traders on Trend, the newsletter that keeps you updated on the latest trends and opportunities in the markets. We are your hosts again for tody, and wer'e here to help you navigate the complex and ever-changing world of finance.


In today’s edition, we’ll discuss the implications of the Fed’s signal for interest rate cuts in 2024, and how you can invest in a lower-rate environment. We’ll also take a look at the chart of the day, which features PLTR, a data analytics company that is looking for a breakout. And of course, we’ll have some fun and interesting tidbits along the way.


But before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick glance at the market roundup, where we’ll summarize the major events and movements that shaped the markets on Monday.


Today's Market Mood: EXTREMELY BULLISH!

The Bear-Bull Meter


Daily Market Roundup: Bulls Charge Back, Inflation on Deck


Wall Street roared back to life yesterday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hitting their highest notes of 2024 so far. After a shaky January debut, investors shook off the jitters and embraced a more upbeat stance. The Dow Jones, though, kept its head down, weighed down by Boeing's turbulence after a 737 Max snafu.


But the big story was the broad-based surge, fueled by a chorus of positive factors. Yields on Treasury bonds cooled off, taking the pressure off equities. 


Adding to the upbeat tempo were strong performances from semiconductors, led by Nvidia's electrifying 6.4% surge. Small caps also joined the party, along with consumer discretionary and communication services. Even energy, despite a dip in crude oil prices, managed to stay in positive territory.


So, what's next for this market? The spotlight shifts to inflation this week, with both the CPI and PPI reports due out. These numbers will be closely watched for clues about the Federal Reserve's next move on interest rates.


Here's the market's scorecard:


  • S&P 500: Up 1.4% to 4,763.54, a new year-to-date high.
  • Dow Jones: Up 0.6% to 37,683.01, held back by Boeing's woes.
  • Nasdaq: Up 2.2% to 14,843.77, led by the chipmakers' rally.
  • 10-year Treasury yield: Down 3 basis points to 4.015%, easing the bond market's grip.
  • VIX: Down 0.28 to 13.07, suggesting investors are shedding some anxiety.


Investment Strategies for the Week:


  • Inflation in Focus: Keep a close eye on the CPI and PPI reports. They could set the market's mood for the coming weeks.
  • Chip Stocks on Fire: The semiconductor sector is sizzling, thanks to Nvidia's stellar performance. Consider riding this wave with a diversified tech ETF or individual stock picks.
  • Don't Neglect Small Caps: After last week's dip, small caps are back in the groove. Watch this segment for potential growth opportunities.

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Market Mischief: When Bears Get Hungry for Nuts


What: Remember those analysts who predicted a "nutty" year for the stock market, with squirrel-like volatility? Well, they might be getting their acorns after all. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq just chomped down on some serious gains, leaving the Dow Jones gnawing on Boeing's bitter aftertaste. Seems even the market can't resist a good comeback.


Why: Turns out, lower interest rates were the secret stash of peanuts these hungry bulls craved. Add a sprinkle of cooling inflation fears, and you've got a market feast. But watch out, bears still lurk in the shadows, waiting for any unexpected crumbs of bad news.


Lesson: Never underestimate the market's appetite for good news. And remember, even squirrels have off days, so keep your eye on those pesky inflation numbers this week. They might just throw a wrench in the whole picnic.


Chart of the Day

$PLTR: Primed for a Potential Data Payday


Forget crystal balls, folks. PLTR's chart is the real oracle, and it's whispering a tale of steady ascent with a potentially explosive finale. Since September's dip, this data darling has scaled over 10%, leaving a trail of higher lows like stepping stones to bigger things. Bullish whispers abound, hinting at a continued climb.


But here's where the plot thickens. PLTR's nearing a crucial crossroads, a triangular formation poised to break. Cautious investors might wait for the official breakout, like watching fireworks from a safe distance. But for the bolder bunch, the early entry opportunity might be too tempting to resist.


Adding fuel to the fire, the MACD just pulled off a bullish high five, confirming the positive vibes emanating from the chart's historical data. Think of it as a technical thumbs-up from the market.


So, is PLTR a guaranteed gold mine? No chart holds the future in its palm, but the stars seem aligned for a potential data bonanza. Price action, technical indicators, and a hint of bullish swagger – PLTR's got all the ingredients for a compelling investment script. 


The Fed's Pivot: A Tailwind for Stocks?


The Federal Reserve's recent signal of an end to rate hikes sent ripples through the market, and for good reason. Historically, this has been a powerful cue for bulls to charge. But before we stampede, let's unpack the implications and navigate the terrain strategically.


Why Rate Cuts Matter: Think of interest rates as the cost of borrowing for businesses and consumers. Lower rates grease the economic engine, boosting corporate profits and encouraging spending. This translates to a potential windfall for shareholders, making equities an attractive option.


Historical Headwinds Turn Tailwinds: Data whispers sweet nothings in our ears. Over the past six rate-hike cycles, the S&P 500, like a seasoned sprinter, clocked a median gain of 16% in the subsequent 12 months. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq weren't slouches either, with median returns of 17% and 20.1%, respectively.


2024: Potential Trajectory: The forecast for the next seven months paints a rosy picture. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq could see double-digit gains, propelled by the anticipation of lower borrowing costs and their ripple effect on corporate earnings. While Wall Street echoes this sentiment, they're a tad more reserved, predicting around 8% upside for the S&P 500.


A Word of Caution: Don't let exuberance cloud your judgment. Valuations in many stocks are already stretched thin, exceeding historical averages. Be selective, focus on fundamentals, and factor in potential roadblocks like inflation or geopolitical uncertainties.


Investing Strategies:

  • Embrace Selective Optimism: Ride the potential tailwind of lower rates, but prioritize quality over hype.
  • Dig Deeper on Valuation: Scrutinize price-to-earnings ratios and compare them to historical benchmarks.
  • Diversify with Caution: Spread your bets across sectors and asset classes to mitigate risk.
  • The Fed's signal offers a promising glimpse into 2024, but responsible, informed investing remains the key to navigating this dynamic landscape. Remember, the market is a chessboard, not a casino – play your moves wisely.

Market Movers: A Spotlight on Analysts, Earnings, and Inflation


Wall Street saw a flurry of activity yesterday, fueled by analyst upgrades, company news, and anticipation for the upcoming earnings season. Get ready, because we're taking a deep dive into the market's movers and shakers:


Analyst Upgrades Take Flight:


  • American Airlines (AAL): Soaring 7.2% thanks to Morgan Stanley's upgraded view, with optimism for the industry despite recent turbulence.
  • Dell Technologies (DELL): JPMorgan's bullish stance and raised price target sent the PC maker up 4.6%, highlighting its leverage in the AI boom.
  • Equifax (EFX): Bank of America's "buy" rating fueled a near 4% gain, buoyed by expectations for a thriving mortgage market driven by potential Fed rate cuts.

Merger Mania:


  • Axonics (AXNX): Exploded over 20% on news of its $3.7 billion acquisition by Boston Scientific, solidifying its position in the biotech space.

Earnings in the Spotlight:


  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM): The chip giant, up 40% last year, takes center stage tomorrow with its quarterly report, offering a glimpse into the sector's health.
  • Big Banks Get Ready to Shine: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo kick off the financial sector's earnings blitz later this week, followed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and PNC next week.


Inflation in Focus:


  • Consumer Outlook Cools: New York Fed data showed consumers' one-year inflation expectations plummeting to a two-year low, potentially paving the way for Fed rate cuts.
  • CPI Eyes on the Prize: Thursday's Consumer Price Index report takes center stage, with analysts predicting a modest increase and continued downward trend in core inflation.


Rate Cut Debate Heats Up:


  • Markets Optimistic: The prospect of five or six rate cuts in 2024 has investors buzzing, but Kathy Jones of Schwab suggests caution, with May looking like a more likely starting point.
  • Futures Market Wagers: The latest CME FedWatch Tool shows investors pricing in a near certainty of no rate change this month, followed by a 61% chance of a cut in March, down from earlier optimism.


In a Nutshell:


Wall Street digested a mix of analyst calls, company news, and economic data, setting the stage for a potentially pivotal earnings season and further Fed maneuvering around inflation. Stay tuned for more developments – it promises to be an exciting ride!



Random Musings and the Time Machine


Random Musings


If the Fed cuts the rate six times in 2024, as the market expects, will it run out of ammunition to fight the next recession? Or will it resort to negative rates, like some European countries?


Nvidia’s new graphic chips are so powerful that they can run the latest games at ultra-high settings. But can they run Crysis, the notoriously demanding game from 2007 that became a meme for testing PC performance?


Equifax’s stock rose after Bank of America upgraded it, citing a strong mortgage market. But how can we trust Equifax, the company that leaked the personal data of millions of Americans in 2017, to handle our credit reports?


Boeing’s stock fell after the FAA grounded dozens of its 737 Max 9 planes due to a safety issue. But how can we trust Boeing, the company that was involved in two fatal crashes of its 737 Max 8 planes in 2018 and 2019, to make safe planes?


Toll Brothers’ stock rose after Wolfe Research upgraded it, citing a promising buyer market. But how can we afford Toll Brothers, the company that sells luxury homes that cost an average of $900,000, when the median home price in the U.S. is $300,000?



On this day in history, January 9, 2024:


January 9, 1904: The Panama Canal Treaty is Signed: This historic agreement granted the United States the right to build and operate the Panama Canal, forever altering global trade routes and fueling American economic expansion. Talk about infrastructure projects with lasting impact!


January 9, 1929: The Dow Jones Industrial Average Hits a Record High: Just months before the Great Crash, the Dow soared to a then-unimaginable 381.17, fueled by rampant speculation and a blind faith in the market's invincibility. A stark reminder of the perils of unchecked optimism.


January 9, 1960: Elvis Presley Returns from the Army: The King's return after two years of military service sparked a cultural frenzy, ushering in a new era of rock 'n' roll and teenage rebellion. Proof that sometimes, even a king needs a break to reignite his fire.


January 9, 2007: Steve Jobs Introduces the iPhone: This revolutionary device redefined mobile communication and sparked a tech revolution that continues to this day. A testament to the power of innovation and its ability to disrupt entire industries.


January 9, 1788: Connecticut becomes the fifth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, paving the way for a stronger federal union and, eventually, a thriving financial system. Remember, strong fundamentals are the bedrock of any healthy market.


The Final Ledger


The market this week was a chess match between investor expectations and economic realities. The Fed's dovish whispers moved a pawn towards lower rates, while inflation data held strong, keeping the queen of uncertainty in play. Quarterly reports added some rooks and knights to the board, with tech giants like Nvidia making bold moves.


But remember, dear reader, the market isn't a game of chance, it's a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. Invest with your analytical lens on, not your gambling chips, and keep this wisdom close:


"The four most expensive words in the investment business are 'this time it's different.'" - Sir John Templeton, market contrarian.


Remember, in the market, it's not about the quick waltz, but the long-term strategy. Until next week, happy investing!


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